Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station reaches major milestone with 3,000th callout

Lifeboats News Release

The crew of London’s Chiswick RNLI lifeboat achieved a landmark launch on Tuesday 25 October 2016 when they conducted their 3,000th callout since lifeboats were established in the capital 14 years ago.

Chiswick RNLI - year on year the charity’s second busiest RNLI lifeboat station overall – went to the rescue of a capsized rowing quad.

At 9.30am the crew were cleaning the lifeboat at its mooring on Chiswick Pier, when they saw four rowers in difficulty a little way downstream. It appeared that a quad from St Paul’s girls' school was swept by the strong current onto a large buoy after taking action to avoid a vessel coming upstream, and the four rowers were tipped into the river.

The coach’s launch was alongside but was too small to get the girls out of the water. RNLI helmsman Andy Mayo brought the lifeboat alongside and crew members Gavin Simmons and Holly Walters quickly brought the rowers on board the lifeboat. The girls were in good spirits but cold; the crew wrapped them in blankets and the lifeboat returned them to their base at Tideway scullers near Chiswick Bridge were they were able to warm up.

Chiswick RNLI, along with other lifeboat stations on the River Thames at Tower, Teddington and Gravesend, was established in January 2002. The RNLI was approached to provide a dedicated search and rescue service on the Thames in the wake of the enquiry into the Marchioness disaster.

Andy Mayo, Chiswick RNLI lifeboat helmsman on the 3,000th callout, joined the RNLI as a volunteer on Dover lifeboat in 1994 and has been on the crew at Chiswick since the station opened. He said: ‘When the RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started, no one could have predicted how busy it would be. Today’s incident shows how we were able to deal swiftly with a situation that could have had a very different outcome. It just shows that the RNLI really is needed on the River Thames and is seen by other authorities as an invaluable service.’

The RNLI remains a charity that relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions to continue its lifesaving work. Chiswick RNLI has an active fundraising group and is always keen to have new helpers from the local community. There is a wide range of roles; as well as helping with events there are currently opportunities for those with skills in social media, videos and graphics.


RNLI media contact

  • David Clarke RNLI Press Officer (Chiswick)
    0795 121 0500
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

Capsized rowers recovered into the lifeboat

RNLI/David Clarke

Capsized rowers recovered into the lifeboat

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.